Smarter retailing, today

Establishing smarter online journeys and evolving traditional retail experiences to maximise your share of sales

attract, engage, convert

Different customers seek different experiences.

Working smarter together to deliver the best of both worlds and everything in between.

A lot has changed in the past 12 months, but it's important we take the learnings from lockdown to improve the buying experience, whilst helping our retailer partners to work smarter and create more sustainable businesses.

It involves delivering the best of both worlds. The ease and convenience of making more of the buying decision online, combined with the physical forecourt experiences that most know and love.

It’s likely to result in a further shift from sellers “selling” to buyers “buying”, with more detail about the vehicle and the deal surfaced online. This could level the playing field with greater transparency and physical forecourt’s adjusting from shop windows to customer experience centres.

Digital retailing is here stay. What are you waiting for?

Speak to one of our experts today

3 reasons to integrate distance selling moving forward

Half of customers on Auto Trader prefer to complete more of the purchase online

50% of customers prefer to complete at least part of the purchase online 1

2 in 3 consumers would commit to a purchase without a test drive

65% said they would or probably would if they were offered a 14-day moneyback guarantee 2

61% of consumers think online buying scenarios are appealing

61% of consumers on Auto Trader find online buying appealing Vs 30% who don’t 3

Retailers finding success in the current market

How to attract today’s buyers to your adverts

How to keep buyers locked-in to your adverts

How to convert customers without them visiting your forecourt


How to attract today’s buyers to your adverts

Establish a sourcing strategy

With many retailers looking to make up lost ground, few can afford to fall foul of a stock shortage similar to that witnessed after the first lockdown. Set out by using our tools to identify the right stock for your forecourt, then think about how you plan to source those vehicles if the traditional channels dry up or become too expensive. Consider retailing your part exchanges and utilise Guaranteed Part Exchange (GPX) to secure a strong margin opportunity. You can also use Dealer Auction to target specific stock from other retailers or from private sellers on Auto Trader.

Read the blog

Take a digital first approach

Most of today’s consumers shop for the car they want first, before identifying the retailer they want to buy from. So, it’s never been more important to ensure all your vehicles are available online and visible on Auto Trader if you want to attract your share of buyers. But the benefits don’t end at appearing in more searches. With a digital first approach you can interact with customers anytime, anywhere, giving you more control over the buying process. Meaning you spend less time chasing deals and more time closing them.

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Improve advert quality

Convincing customers to buy online relies on high quality and transparent adverts, because good adverts get more clicks. To review how your adverts stack up versus your competitors, use our performance analytics tool regularly and aim to get all your adverts into the green. And if they’re not, simply use the advert checklist to address what needs to change and watch your performance rating (and sales!) grow.

Read more about performance analytics


How to keep buyers locked-in to your adverts

Write quality vehicle descriptions

Vehicle descriptions have never been more important for engaging buyers on your adverts. Yet we see so many bad examples from small independents through to large multi-brand franchises. In an era of digital retailing, consumers now seek more information about the vehicle and the deal before ever contacting a retailer. So, we’ve created the 5 essential details consumers need to know when buying a car online in the blog below. Make sure you include them for every vehicle, in every description.

Read the blog: The good, the bad and the ugly of vehicle descriptions

Build reviews from online buyers

93% of consumers say online reviews impact their purchasing decision*. And reviews play an increasingly important role when it comes to making a big-ticket purchase online, with consumers seeking advice from others about an experience they’re about to embark on. It’s why reviews from other consumers who have bought a vehicle from you online are essential in helping more consumers commit to doing the same.


Watch the dealer reviews masterclass

Bring the forecourt experience online

Ultimately, it’s those retailers that adapted quickly to bringing the forecourt experience online that are currently outperforming the rest of the market. Set-up your digital Retailer Store, put a video walkaround on all of your adverts and enable live video viewings to bridge the gap between your physical forecourt and online showroom. This will allow the consumer to make more of their buying decision remotely, saving you time and making your business more efficient.

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How to convert customers without them visiting your forecourt

Take lockdown learnings forward

Many retailers have told us that lockdown has allowed them to streamline their sales processes and provided more control over how they deal with customers. It’s these learnings that retailers need to take forward to deliver more efficient and sustainable businesses. It includes surfacing more detail about the vehicle and the deal online, resulting in less time chasing deals and more time closing them.

Read the blog

Prepare for part exchanges digitally

Providing a valuation for a part exchange is an obstacle at the best of times. Vehicle owners often view their vehicle differently to how you would see it as a retailer, factoring in preparation costs. Ask the customer to complete an appraisal form using the Guaranteed Part Exchange tool and request they send photos or a video to validate the appraisal. This will ensure you’re better prepared for what to expect when they arrive, allowing you to decide if you want to retail the part-exchange and what movement you have to secure a deal. The independent valuation should prevent disputes at handover and ensure you’re covered if there are any hidden surprises.

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Embrace distance selling and use it to sell cars

Distance selling is here to stay. If you embrace the regulations that come with it, it’s likely it will work in your favour. Advertise the customers’ right to return as a 14-day money-back guarantee and provide the consumer with the assurance that if they don’t like it, they can return it. You’ll probably find that once the deal is done and the vehicle is taxed and insured, the consumer won’t want to unwind the deal, but you can also cover yourself for misuse including excess mileage charges and a fee for restocking if the vehicle if it isn’t returned in its original condition.

Read the blog

1March 2021 onsite consumer survey ‘Which option would you prefer to use to complete your car purchase?’ (1197)

2February 2021 Onsite consumer survey Feb 2021 ‘Would you commit to a purchase without a test drive if you were offered a 14-day money back guarantee?’ (2617)

3Auto Trader Digital Car Buying Report - November 2020 (n=1,500)

Need support?

Request your free consultation today. One of our experts will review how well you’re set up on Auto Trader to attract, engage and convert searches into sales:

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